Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Jessica Mas
Directed by: Carlos Cuarón (debut)
Written by: Carlos Cuarón (“Y tu mama tambien”)
Reuniting for the first time since their sexually-expressive outing in 2001’s “Y tu mama tambien,” Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna play two soccer-playing brothers experiencing fits of sibling rivalry in “Rudo y Cursi.”
When Beto (Luna) and Tato (Bernal) are accidentally discovered by a professional soccer recruiter in their small Mexican village, the brothers begin to butt heads when they find out there is only room for one of them to join the pro ranks. Through some suspicious luck, Tato ends up moving to Mexico City to make a name for himself as a soccer player although his passion for singing is his real priority.
Beto, who needs to earn money so he can pay off a gambling debt with some dangerous bookies, earns his chance soon enough to play for another team in Mexico City, and the brothers find themselves on opposite teams for the first time in their lives. Despite the sporadic soccer moments, “Rudo y Cursi” is more about the relationship between brothers who are slowly growing apart and the changes each of them are going through as they become popular among fans.
In his feature directorial debut, Cuarón tackles some multi-layered topics and gives his dim-witted but generally likable characters enough subtle comedic material to play off one another well. Bernal and Luna’s chemistry, while not as essential as it was in “Y tu mama,” is lighthearted enough to overlook some of the film’s more formulaic scenes like the inevitable penalty kick between the brothers you could have predicted during the opening credits.